Most Important Rooms to Update

These room updates will give you the most enjoyment for your effort.

If money was no object, we would love to remodel our entire home, but many of us have to pick and choose which remodeling projects we tackle. Certain rooms are used more often and can greatly effect your home price.

The following rooms and spaces are the most important to update for many reasons. Either they are used a lot or they can greatly affect the price of your home and its ability to sell quickly.

KITCHEN: This room is the heart of the home and from an investment standpoint, it’s the most important room to do and one that potentially can recoup a chunk of the costs. A major overhaul (new cabinets, floors, counters and appliances) may get you back about 68 percent of your investment, but if your space needs just a minor remodel (refinishing cabinets, paint and counters), expect about a 72 percent return on your investment. Kitchens need to be updated if you have plans to sell.

Bathroom remodelBATHROOM: It’s a potentially expensive room to repair, but it’s another one that is important to have updated and in great condition. Kitchens and bathrooms are what buyers want, if you are considering placing your house on the market in the near future.Read More »

5 Most Expensive Home Repairs

Expensive home repairs can be worth it in the long run.

As a homeowner you have probably had to make a decision on how to spend your repair or remodeling dollars. Many times that decision is made simply out of necessity (you NEED a working bathroom). Other times you have to choose where the dollars and time will be best spent based on a combination of needs and desires, and which ones might have the best return on your investment. What are the most expensive home repairs and which rooms are probably most important to update?

Most Expensive Home Repairs

POOL: If you have one, you know why. Liners, filters, heating units, general maintenance and then there is the surrounding pool deck area as well. If a major repair is needed, you can be sure to spend a nice chunk of change.Most Expensive Rooms To Upgrade

WINDOWS: This can vary greatly in price, but if you need to replace all the windows in your home, you are looking at a big price tag. Windows and sliding doors have a multitude of options to choose from with a wide range of prices as well, from standard to super-efficient or custom-made (high price).

ROOF: Once a roof is shot, the replacement is costly and not very satisfying as a homeowner. Really, who notices your new shingles? Roofing materials also come in a variety of styles and prices. Hire a reputable contractor for a job as important as your roof.

KITCHEN: Major repairs to a kitchen can be costly if new appliances, cupboards and surfaces are needed. The good news is that a new kitchen IS a repair expense that is easier to swallow, because you will enjoy the new space every day.

BATHROOOM: Like a kitchen, bathroom repairs can add up fast. If the room needs to be gutted or if mold exists behind the walls, you will need a decent budget to fix it up. Having a safe and updated bathroom is worth the money.Read More »

Timeline for First Time Home Buyers

Buy your first home on time.

There is no magic formula for first time home buyers. There are, however, some general guidelines on how the process should go. Of course all these things can change or vary depending on the type of housing market you’re looking in. An active market might compress your timeline (act a bit faster) but in a slower market, you may be able to take a bit more time. Regardless, here is a basic timeline for first time home buyers.Timeline for first time home buyers

3-4 months prior to preferred move date

At this beginning stage of the home search, you should be doing some serious background work:

  • Make a checklist of your wants and needs for a home, including location and features.
  • Mortgage pre-approval process is imperative. The sooner you get your finances in order the better! You’ll have a clear idea of what your budget is and be in a better position to make an offer and close in a timely fashion.
  • Finding an agent important at this stage of your search. Find a Realtor you can trust and communicate well with. Make sure they know the market you’re interested in living in someday. Ask friends for referrals or visit open houses to meet agents in the area.
  • The fun starts with house shopping! This is when you quickly figure out favorite neighborhoods, styles of homes and things you are willing to compromise on…and things you’re aren’t.

2-3 months out

  • You’re still shopping at this point, but soon you’ll be finding a home you’re interested in purchasing. With the advice of your licensed Realtor, write up an offer and begin negotiations.
  • Once you have a negotiated price, get an inspection by a qualified home inspector and make any repair arrangements with the homeowners to finalize the contract.
  • Make your closing arrangements.
  • Give your moving notice (if necessary) at your current residence.

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In Love with Two Houses?

You have to choose between two great homes. Now what?

After weeks of searching, you’ve fallen in love with that perfect house. But you’re not feeling at all settled. What’s wrong with finding the perfect house? Nothing, unless you’ve actually found 2 perfect houses. Maybe you love the houses equally or you and your spouse each love a different house. Now what do you do? Here are some things to consider when having to choose between 2 houses you love.Two Homes

Emotions Out:

The first rule of thumb it to keep emotions out of the equation – you need to approach this rationally! Many people resort to the good old’ pros and cons list. It’s a concrete list and usually one house will prevail as the ‘better’ house to buy. The list should start with your budget and your ‘must haves’ for the home. If there is no clear winner, dig a little deeper and include…

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Make Your First House the Right House

What should you consider when shopping for your first home?

The first time through a home-buying experience can be both exciting and stressful. Before you let your high hopes, sticker shock and long wish-list blurr your vision, familiarize yourself with common home buyers mistakes here. But how exactly do you make sure that first home purchase is the right one for you? Here are a few things to consider when shopping for your first home.

Work with a licensed Realtor

The first time through, you need a professional to help you navigate the journey. A Realtor can help you save time by fine-tuning your search. They can save you money with their knowledge of the market values and by being your chief negotiator.Make first home the right home Learn the difference between a Realtor and a Real Estate Agent in this blog.

Determine your neighborhood

You’ve heard the saying ‘location, location, location’ – so know the area that you want to live and concentrate your search there.

List the must-haves

What are those things you must have in your home? Is it a certain amount of bedrooms or bathrooms? Perhaps finishes are important to you? Or a fenced yard? Does it need to be near public transportation? Whatever those necessities are, make a concise list of them.

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Considerations for Painting the Exterior of your Home

Painting the exterior of your home can make it feel brand new.

One of the most dramatic ways to change the curb appeal of your home is to paint it. But you don’t want the drama to be in a negative way…to be known as the “pink house” – instead you want the paint job to beautify your home. There are many things to do before the transformation can take place. What are some things to consider when painting the exterior of your home?

Whether you hope to accomplish this paint job yourself, or you plan to hire a contractor, you need to make sure the following things are discussed, planned for and/or included in your bid.Yellow House

Prep Work

The worst part of the painting experience, but probably the most important, is what happens before the painting ever begins. Are there woodpecker holes in your siding, rotted siding or damaged door trim and window sills? These problems need to be replaced or repaired before any painting begins. Sanding and scraping to ensure the surface is clean and smooth is also a must.

Color Choices

Are you going with the same color palette or are you up for something new? Using the same color will take less time, paint and money. But changing the color can really make a giant difference in the curb appeal of your home. Before you pick a new color, consider the following:

  • How will a new color work with your roofing, sidewalk and driveway? How will it work with your plantings and surroundings? What about your neighbors? You don’t want it to be like every other house on the block, but it shouldn’t stand out like a sore thumb either.
  • Dark colors can make a home appear smaller and dark colors absorb more heat. Lighter colors tend to make a home look a touch bigger and reflect heat. Is that something for you to consider as well?
  • Painting a new color will cost you more in terms of time, paint and money and will require proper priming as well.

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Why it’s a Good Time to Buy in the City

Living in the city could be the perfect fit for you.

City neighborhoods are bustling – not only with new restaurants, clubs and businesses, but with lots of new and renovated housing as well. And it’s no wonder why — recent surveys reflect that homeowners want walkable neighborhoods with loads of amenities, which is what many urban areas have to offer.   City-living isn’t for everyone, but if you’re thinking it might be a good fit for you, here are a few reasons why it’s a good time to buy in the city:

Walkability: Imagine living just steps away from your favorite restaurant or night-spot. Or perhaps just blocks from the river walks or concert halls and theaters? And you still have places nearby to purchase groceries and visit the dentist or doctor as well. Walkability is becoming a bigger factor for many people looking for housing, and moving to the city can offer that and more.

Is living in the city the right choice for you?
Is living in the city the right choice for you?

Housing Options: Historic in-town neighborhoods provide the best models for successful city living.  True townhouses, appropriately scaled condos, and of course, single-family detached homes on smaller lots are all options. So if you want NO yard work, you can find a place that’ll work. If you want a little place to garden, that’s available as well. A room with a view? You bet.

Transportation: City life offers a lot of options to get around. Not only walking, but biking is a popular mode of transportation as well as buses and light rail. It’s convenient, accessible and affordable. Commute times and costs can reduced by living and working in the city as well.

Diversity: Not just in terms of the people nearby, but businesses, shops and restaurants – local mom and pop shops, great independent restaurants…there is something for everyone living in the city.Read More »

The Difference Between a “Fixer-Upper” and a “Money-Pit”

How to Know When It’s Worth it to Buy a Fixer-Upper

How to know if a home is a fixer-upper.We’ve all watched those flipping shows, where a burly guy and his beautiful designer spouse buy a dump and turn it into the perfect home. They sell it fast and make a ton of cash. That’s just a TV show, right? Obviously flipping houses does occur, just usually not to that level of success. And yet a lot of people shopping for real estate are looking for a solid home at a decent price that they can put their own sweat and tears into, and add to the value of the property in the process. How do you avoid getting burned financially by buying the wrong house? There is a difference between a fixer-upper and a money-pit. Read on.

A Fixer-Upper is generally a home that’s in a decent location, structurally sound, but needs general maintenance, a lot of cosmetic changes and design improvements. The homeowner can usually reside in the home while the work is being done…so it’s not THAT bad of a place. Many times the projects can be DIY, too. The projects often include:

  • Walls – fill holes, repair damaged areas, remove and update wallpaper and paint. The exterior may need some repair and painting as well.
  • Floors – refinish hardwood floors, clean or replace carpet and upgrade other flooring materials.
  • Lighting – update fixtures throughout the interior and exterior of the home.
  • Wood – replace damaged trim, repair doors and cabinets.
  • Kitchen and bathroom – new hardware, painting or refinishing cupboards if necessary.

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4 Ways To Protect Your Home From Burglars

Protect Your Home From Burglars REALTOR

Would you feel violated if you came home to find your house ransacked by a burglar? Of course you would. Burglars look for a lot of things when choosing a home to break into. Unfortunately, many homeowners are unaware of these, essentially inviting criminals through the front door. Here are 4 ways to protect your home from burglars.

1. Mindful Use of Social Media
We all love talking about our lives on social media but it isn’t always the best idea. Big vacation coming up? Wait until after the vacation is over to “put it out” in social media. Burglars can easily access that information and find out when you’re going to be gone and for how long. Adjust your social media privacy settings making your posts only visible to your trusted contacts.

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Dream Home or School District: Which Would You Choose?

Weighing the pros and cons of choosing a home based on school district.

dream home or school districtYou married the one you love, have the job you’ve always wanted, and have three adorable babes to tuck in at night. Your American Dream is almost complete – all that’s left? The house.

Where a lot of people struggle in this situation is deciding whether to go with the dream home, or the dream school district. The no-brainer here is to buy the better home that is in the best school district, but that isn’t always an option.

There has been a lot of discussion on this topic. Some justify settling for a decent school district to allow them their dream home; stating that children learn most of their values at home. This argument states a home with educated and supportive parents will ensure their child’s academic success, even if they don’t go to the best schools.Read More »